You want to get stronger? Easy! Workout.
There’s more to getting stronger than just workouts you say? Sounds like we have taught you well.
Yep, it’s true. There are an assortment of factors that go into making a healthy, strong UFO ninja, and we want you all to keep getting stronger. That’s why we are releasing some of our super-secret-super-helpful weapons used to take your training to the next level.
Ready for our first super-badass-secret weapon? Keep reading:
We’ve all ran into a wall in our training at some point. Maybe your knees may cave when you squat and sound like you threw a box of rice krispies into a fire or you can’t quite get your legs to stay in the air whenever you attempt a handstand. We’ve all got something to work on, but the truth is, any movement you can’t do without correct patterns you shouldn’t be doing...YET.
When we first run into that wall, our instinct is to run right through it, and time and time again, our bodies may pay the price for muscling through our limits. Instead of crashing into that wall, utilize our first secret weapon to work on correcting those patterns, improve your mobility and stability, and have that wall become a step you can easily walk over.
The secret: mobilizing. A lot of mobilizing.
Okay, so it’s not exactly a secret--especially given that we harp on you all after every class to get rollin’ on the turf. But we really can’t oversell how important mobilizing is. Even if you are sure to get your foam rolling on for a few minutes after class, you always could be doing more. To help you start mobilizing at home, we created a handy mobility calendar with some moves you can do each day.
Before we jump into good mobilizing practices, let’s take a step back and define mobility. To simplify, we can categorize mobility into three main parts:
Mysofascial release (SMF, also known as smashing) -
SMF addresses the tissue quality you house. If you think of stacking many layers of pancakes on top of each other, with each pancake representing fascial structures in your body (What is fascia? Connective tissue). If all or most layers of connective tissue are well oiled then the sliding surfaces (layers between pancakes) move unrestricted. If we’ve been doing lots of exercise or experienced some trauma in that area, we might have some ‘knots’ or adhesions (fascial tears that didn’t heal properly). These adhesions (think adhesive) stick together and subsequently form those unpleasant and often golf ball size gristly bits in your muscle. Sliding surfaces that don’t move well can cause some discomfort and limited your range of motion. Examples would be anything with a lacrosse ball, rumble roller, foam roller, or other firm object.
2. Joint Distraction -
Most joints that we exercise contain synovial fluid. Think of this as your vehicle oil. Synovial fluid helps to lubricate a joint so that it can express itself through its range of motion inside that joint capsule. When the surrounding soft tissue becomes restricted or tight, there subsequently is some pressure that translates to that joint/capsule. Once we lose space in a joint, bad things can happen after repetitive exercise without correcting the loss of motion. Using a band to pull on the joint can help move it back into its natural place as well as wedge the joint to allow synovial fluid to return back into the joint. Repeated movements with a lot of joint dysfunction will force your body to engage in compensatory mechanisms. In other words, using muscles that you’re not suppose to. Examples of joint distraction would be any mobility we do using resistance bands.
3. Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF, also known as stretching) -
Yeah screw those proper medical terms eh? Just stick with saying ‘stretching’ unless you want to sound like your vernacular is excessively sophisticated. Anyhow, the idea is to take a muscle to length (end range of motion) contract and resist an object (e.g. resistance band) or partner for 5-10 seconds, then relax and see if you can gain more flexibility in that position. For example, lying on your back and having a partner stretch your hamstring by pushing your straight leg towards your face. You would contract against them for 5-10 seconds, and then relax and see if they can push your leg a little further. You would do this a few times on each leg.
With these 3 forms of mobility in mind, the mobility calendar I want to recommend doesn’t address everything that you should do, but certainly will provide you with a well rounded template to try along with addressing common problems we see. Don't know how to do a move? Click on the link or ask a coach next time you're in here!
Monday: Couch Stretch x 2mins a side
Tuesday: Calf Smash on kettlebell x 2mins a side
Wednesday: Hang from a bar for 2 sets of x30 seconds. Then do some scapular pullups/rollbacks. X3 sets of 5 of each.
Thursday: Adductor Smash: Grab a kettlebell and sit on the handle with the inside/underside of your thigh - right up by your southern bits. X2 mins a side
Friday: Pretzel Stretch: How long can you go?
Saturday: T spine Rollout
Sunday: Pec Smash
Monday: Grab a lacrosse ball or something to stick in your hip crease and have a smash party for x2mins on each side. Make sure you scream ‘smash party’ as loud as possible before you do it though ok? Empty rooms still require this of you.
Tuesday: Downward dog plus divebombs. At least 1 min
Wednesday: Arm Circles on the wall: stand close to a wall - rotate your arm in a bit circle, thumb up until you start turning behind your ear (thumb forward). Try not to touch the wall. X 10 on each side nice and slow.
Thursday: Seated Splits: Sit on your butt, spread your legs as far as you can - relax your lumbar spine and fold forward reaching towards the floor. Breath x 2 mins
Friday: Hammer Nail
Saturday: Quad Smash just above the knee
Sunday: Gut Smash Forever ok? Try at least 1 min/side. It's the first 30 seconds that are brutal
This is just a template to help you get most parts of your body singing like a Whitney Houston ballad and position you one big step closer to knocking over those pesky walls in your training.
One of the best things about this calendar? Our chart becomes a template for you to personalize long after the first two weeks is done. Take time to think about what are sticky spots for you, what hurts or is sore after most workouts? What “homework” have you been given after class to work on? Add in any extra moves to help target those spots and don’t be afraid to ask us coaches for any recommendations!
So, ready to take your training to the next level? On your mark….get set…...Mobilize!